Too many tags? Search problems

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  • #999476

    mattkinsella
    Member

    I have a feeling I am doing something wrong with tags (maybe too many) and I know I can’t be the only one with this problem so I am hoping someone can help.

    My posts used to show up in google search very well but now only my tags show up e.g. if I search in google for “how to be lucky in life” my post with that subject line (http://mattkinsella.com/2011/12/27/how-to-be-lucky-in-life/) used to be number 1 or 2 in google search but now only the tag shows up (http://mattkinsella.com/tag/how-to-be-lucky-in-life/) somewhere on the first page. This is the same for every other post I have created since day 1 and every post I create now.

    I know this is partly google related and I possibly shouldn’t ask here but I have contacted google and they say there is nothing massively wrong, just with the way the site is setup. Because I am using a standard wordpress template (twentyten) and just using it in a standard way I think many other wordpress.com users must have this issue. I am sure there must be a simple solution, it might not be related to tags at all which is why I don’t want to start making massive changes to tags or anything else until someone can point me in the right direction. Any advice would be great.

    The blog I need help with is mattkinsella.com.

    #999690

    timethief
    Member

    The rule of thumb when assigning categories and/or tags is keep them relevant and know that less is more. See here > Topics > Missing posts That said, these days search engines pay more attention to your keywords in your content than they do to your keywords in Tags/Categories and Matt Cutts of Google confirms this > http://onecoolsitebloggingtips.com/2012/03/01/revisiting-keywords-and-tags/

    #999707

    mattkinsella
    Member

    Thanks for you reply, that’s useful info. I am still not totally sure if tags is the problem though because I don’t believe I have used more than 10 (inc categories) and even if 1 or 2 posts did reach that limit I don’t see why all of my posts have gone from search results and only tags showing.

    After reading through the links you sent and watching the video from Matt Cutts I am now going to remove a lot of the tags from my posts and see if that helps. From the info in the links it won’t hurt much so I will give it a go.

    In the missing posts link it mentions being flagged as mature content, I guess there is a possibility my blog has been wrongly marked as such. I don’t know why but it’s possible.

    Because I am not doing anything unusual with standard templates I am surprised a lot more people are not having this problem.

    #999713

    Google do seem to bring up mostly post URL’s that are tags or categories all the time. Nearly every visit we have had has been for a post tag URL and not the actual post URL Google has always been a mystery. As timethief says Google now rely more on keywords in a post, but i have to say, even so, they are still bringing up the post tags for people searching those key words, rather than the original post URL. Every friend i know on WP has the same thing happening on their blogs. Perhaps other people have this too, they just haven’t realised it. I only know because i have Statcounter. For what it’s worth, we added a post with just one tag, to see what would happen, and it has never had any views at all, even though it was a long written post.

    #999714

    mattkinsella
    Member

    Before April this year I got a lot of traffic directly to posts and pages then it went overnight to only tags and categories. This has cut my traffic to 20% of what it was and I find it strange other wordpress.com users are not talking or caring about this. Could it be that wordpress.com is not google friendly any more and I should look for another platform to move my content to?

    #999715

    Same for us. We have blogged for 8 years with different blogs on WP, and recently the way people reach us has changed, as in the being refered by tag or category, and our visits have dropped too. Even if people find us through images, they come through on a tag or category, which is very odd. Google constantly make changes and their most recent change wiped out long running sites completely. I don’t think it’s WP to be honest, because Google pay a lot of attention to WP blogs, it’s just the way Google are now idexing things. If you moved elsewhere how could you be sure it wouldn’t be the same? Because it seems it’s the way Google are now running things. And Google does what it does and no-one gets any say in the matter.

    #999720

    mattkinsella
    Member

    If I search for topics that my blog posts (not tags) used to show up for then I see other peoples blog posts and pages come up in the google results. So google is still showing results for blog posts and pages, not just tags and categories, even wordpress blog posts are there, however they seem to be self hosted wordpress blogs so maybe that is the issue; Maybe wordpress.com blogs have been hit in the google algo update earlier this year? Maybe google is only showing posts for self hosted wordpress blogs?

    Hate to keep saying it but I still can’t believe more people haven’t been making more noise about this, it’s been 4 months since the google update that seems to have affected this, there must be many other wordpress.com users that have seen a serious drop off in search traffic. There must be a solution even if it is to go to a hosted wordpress blog. Is WordPress.com keeping this suppressed because they know it is now a serious negative against using wordpress.com vs .org hosted??

    #999722

    raincoaster
    Member

    Most people do not analyze their stats that closely.

    Going to an independentlly hosted blog will DECREASE your search engine status.

    I’ve been here six years and there’s no question Google did something to increase the juice of local tag pages and decrease the juice of individual posts, but I see the same effect on my independently-hosted blogs as well.

    #999724

    mattkinsella
    Member

    What, you wouldn’t notice 100+ visitors every day from google search suddenly goes down to 20 or less every day? I wouldn’t say that’s analyzing my stats very closely. It’s an obvious drop off, no analyzing required. Are you seriously saying I am the only one out of thousands of regular users that would notice that?

    Before April if I searched for certain phrases my post would be at number 3 and my tag or category link would show up half way down the first page somewhere. Now the post is on page 146 of results but tags are still half way down first page. That is not a bit of extra juice for tags and categories but posts are now a bit further down. That is a an obvious toilet flush on ALL posts, past, present and future but tags are still where they were.

    #999725

    raincoaster
    Member

    Well, you can try moving, but mark my words.

    #999727

    mattkinsella
    Member

    I don’t want to do anything hasty. That’s why I want to find the real root issue and have a decent solution, whatever that might be. I don’t want to move my content unless I really have to because other than this problem I am happy with wordpress.com.

    This morning I drastically reduced the number of tags I used. I removed 3 or 4 categories to simplify that a bit too.

    I also made sure I removed all tags that were the same or very similar as the blog title in case google was picking 1 of the 2 and choosing the tag over the blog post itself. After looking through everything there is a good chance this is the culprit but it might take a while for my changes to reflect in the search results. It would be great to find out from other wordpress.com users if they have had similar problems and whether they found any partial or full solutions.

    #999728

    raincoaster
    Member

    Wait, I’ve had an idea.

    Have you confirmed whether or not your posts are showing in the Reader? There are hundreds of people complaining that they are not, and staff are trying to narrow down why; it seems to have something to do with their feeds. I gave up on the Reader long ago, so I am not terribly familiar with it, but if there’s a problem with your feed, that WILL have an effect.

    #999729

    mattkinsella
    Member

    Just wanted to clarify: I also made sure I removed all tags that were the same or very similar as the blog POST title.

    #999730

    mattkinsella
    Member

    My posts seem to be in the reader. Could you also verify that for me?

    #999731

    @mattkinsella you should be aware that the tags you have now removed will produce 404 errors for those posts that were indexed by those tags, and Google index posts by tags and categories, but they also connect posts to other posts. One post can be indexed many times over, and by removing tags you have broken a chain.

    #999732

    mattkinsella
    Member

    @redsoulnights Yes I know and I know it’s not good but I have resubmitted the updated sitemap and hopefully once google reindexes things will be better. Currently I am getting so little traffic from google because of this issue described earlier that it’s worth trying anything. I think I probably did have too many tags in some cases and a few of my categories were similar to my tags and post titles so in the long term I am happier this has been tidied up.

    #999733

    Well we had the same issue as you, as you know, and we use very few tags, and as i said, one post with only one tag never had any views, we’re not even sure it was ever indexed. We decided it doesn’t matter how people reach us, just as long as they do! If they come to us through a tag rather than the original URL the only difference is that WP show it as a Home/Archive hit, and without Statcounter we wouldn’t know what had actually been viewed. Perhaps WordPress should change things to coincide with what Google does, and actually show what tags or category posts are clicked on.

    #999734

    mattkinsella
    Member

    @redsoulnights It does seem a mystery. Just done some more research and I have a friend that has a wordpress.com site. Noticed his posts are still performing well in google search along with the tags. His site is nearly the same age as mine although he doesn’t post much. I noticed one of his posts that is performing well is in category “uncategorized” and only has 3 tags, none of which are the same as the blog title. Other than that I can’t see why his posts would be ok in google and mine not. I am hoping that will be the reason and the work I have done today will rectify it…. eventually. But going by what you are saying then it can’t be that otherwise why are you having the same issue?

    This is still a mystery because it is not a problem affecting everyone but is clearly affecting quite a few and it is not at all obvious why.

    I wish someone could shed some light on it because google are adamant that it’s a site structure issue and as I am using a standard template and doing standard stuff with no add ons, not even a different font! It MUST be an issue within wordpress.com or some strange quirk of how I am using, a widget, tags, categories etc. Either way I would hope someone could point me in the right direction.

    #999735

    raincoaster
    Member

    Well, you do have a static page as your landing page. A friend of mine switched from having a blog landing page to a static page and dropped from in the top 1000 blogs on Earth to somewhere around 350,000 for that reason alone. Also, as far as I can tell your header has no link to the blog page either. You MUST have a link to it, otherwise Google will think all you have are static pages. And no, the widget doesn’t count, those are Nofollow links.

    #999736

    mattkinsella
    Member

    It was a static landing page for at least a year before problem started, if I had changed it just before or not long before then I could see that as an issue. However I won’t dismiss it, I’ll look into it.

    On your other point I think you will find the link on the header that says MATT’S BLOG is a link to my blog? Are you not seeing that?

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